By Andrew Mitchell
Seventy-four of Whistler’s frontline and service employees were recognized by the Whistler Chamber of Commerce last week, with a reception and party at Dusty’s.
This was the 17 th year for the American Express Service Recognition Awards, which pays tribute to employees and businesses that deliver outstanding service. Each winner received a brief introduction and description of their service, as well as a black and white photograph by Greg Griffith.
Councillor Ralph Forsyth, who led the Chamber’s Spirit Pass programs this year, served as the emcee for the evening, and the list of presenters included Mayor Ken Melamed, who shared stories of his own ski bum days in Whistler, as well as World Cup star Michael Janyk. Janyk, in addition to being a member of the national team, is also an employee of the resort after signing an agreement with the Resort Municipality of Whistler to wear the town’s logo on his headgear at races and functions.
In addition to individual awards, chamber president Louise Lundy presented new service awards to Nesters Market and SnowCovers Sports in the business category, and an award to Pita Etc. for “Out of the Box” service strategies that included hot-dog-eating contests and chess tournaments.
As well, three locals were presented with Above and Beyond Awards. Michael Hallett received an award for offering visitors a place to sleep after a 10-hour highway closure. Cole Mason, the Whistler Kids “parking guy” was recognized for his animation. Kyla Trottier, the friendly cashier at the Grocery Store, also made the list.
Local businesses donated dozens of draw prizes and American Express provided $500 in traveller’s cheques for two lucky employees — bringing the 17 year total to $17,000. Other prizes included skis and a weekend trip to Vancouver including a return train trip on the Whistler Mountaineer, dinner for two at Umberto’s, concert tickets courtesy of American Express, and a night’s stay at the Four Seasons hotel in Vancouver.